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19971-Jaryd Clifford photo

Jaryd Clifford

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Classification
T12, F12
Guide
Tim Logan

Further personal information

Family
Partner Charlotte
Residence
Melbourne, VIC, AUS
Occupation
Athlete, Student, Writer
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up athletics at a Paralympic talent search in 2012.
Why this sport?
He loved sports as a child and planned to play in the Australian Football League. As his vision worsened he decided to stick with a part of the sport, which was running. "I remember I was just in the schoolyard, kicking the ball around, and [I'd] miss a pass or something simple like that and get frustrated. I decided running could be a sport where I didn't have to focus on a ball. It's cliche, but I generally feel free when I run."
Club / Team
Diamond Valley Athletic Club: Melbourne, VIC, AUS
Name of coach
Philo Saunders [personal]
Training Regime
He runs up to 150km a week.

International debut

Year
2015
Competing for
Australia
Tournament
Grand Prix
Location
Brisbane, QLD, AUS

General interest

Nicknames
JC (vis.org.au, 01 Jan 2018)
Hero / Idol
Australian middle-distance runner Ryan Gregson, Australian Para athlete Michael Roeger. (Facebook profile, 28 Jan 2021)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"It's not how much you can't see, it's how much you do with the sight and the other senses you have." (insightvision.org.au, 25 Jun 2013)
Other sports
He also competes in able-bodied athletics, and took part in the 2018 World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland. (iaaf.org, 10 Jul 2018)
Ambitions
To win a gold medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (abc.net.au, 30 Jul 2019)
Impairment
He began to lose his eyesight progressively during primary school due to juvenile macular degeneration. He was classified as legally blind at age 12. (abc.net.au, 04 Sep 2016; insightvision.org.au, 25 Jun 2013)
Other information
TOKYO STRATEGY
He has planned to win gold medals in both the 1500m and 5000m races at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. However he says that the longer the race, the worse his vision deteriorates as fatigue takes hold. "In a pack situation, it's a lot easier for me to become disorientated and panic and under the stresses of fatigue. I adapt so many strategies to work out how to race. I did my first guided 5000m on the track before [the 2018 World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland] and when I do that, I don't have to worry about running into things, I don't have to stress about things most runners take for granted. It's definitely the future for me so then I can rest my eyes and I don't get the extra fatigue." (abc.net.au, 30 Jul 2019; iaaf.org, 10 Jul 2018)

CANBERRA LOCKDOWN
In 2020 he trained in Canberra, ACT, Australia during much of the COVID-19 pandemic away from his home in Melbourne, Victoria. "I got caught out a little. I managed to secure an exemption to travel to Canberra during the early stages of stage four restrictions in Melbourne. To be able to train with my squad and coach has been crucial to my performances this year and leading into the Paralympic Games [2020 Games in Tokyo]. Nevertheless, leaving home at a time when my community was doing it tough felt uncomfortable. Not knowing when I would be able to see my family and girlfriend made the decision to leave even tougher. A gold medal in Tokyo would be for them, my community, and the people that have been there on the journey. When I go for a run, that's what I'm thinking about." (runnerstribe.com, 05 Jan 2021)

ABLE-BODIED COMPETITION
He competed in able-bodied 1500m race at the 2018 World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland. "I just live life by the day. If my vision gets worse in the future, so be it, but I'm a runner so I'm going to put myself in every race I can physically do. When I'm on the start line, yeah I'm a Paralympian, but at the end of the day we're all runners and I was fighting as hard as everyone." He met New Zealander able-bodied runner Samuel Tanner at the championships who raced against him but also assisted him to navigate safe passage on the track. "It's bloody scary but if you're scared of falling over, then you're never going to get the best out of yourself. You've really just got to go hard at it and try and survive. I got through it without falling and I'm stoked about that. Tanner was such a great help." (iaaf.org, 10 Jul 2018)

WRITER
He writes articles on athletics for the Runner's Tribe website. "I just love meeting people and love getting their stories out there. I don't think I could just run and that was it." (Little Athletics Victoria YouTube channel, 10 Jun 2019; runnerstribe.com, 31 May 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 5000 m T13 Final 1 2015-10-29 7
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 1500 m T13 Final Round 2016-09-11 7
Men's 5000 m T13 Final Round 2016-09-15 7
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 1500 m T13 Final 1 2017-07-19 3